Public Policy and Advocacy

Grantmakers in the Arts holds public policy and advocacy as one of its core funding focus areas and believes one of the most important roles we can serve in benefitting our members and the arts grantmaking community – maximizing the impact our sector can have toward increasing access to the arts and realizing racial justice through the arts – comes by way of our public policy and advocacy work. In GIA’s vision for the future, foundations have shifted their foci to increasingly include advocacy and public sector policy and practice.

As part of realizing this vision, we provide programs to teach our members about advocacy and lobbying, the difference between the two, and how grantmakers can support both. GIA advocates for lifelong learning through the arts from early childhood through K-12 and into senior years. Knowing that the arts and arts education cannot be provided without artists, we necessarily advocate for economic justice for artists and other workers.

We are committed to invigorate funding and support for arts education within federal policy, and defend that every resident has access to the arts as part of well-rounded, life-long education. Over the past several years, raising the visibility of the arts in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in its legislative form. GIA and Penn Hill Group continue these advocacy efforts around the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), guiding GIA members and their grantees in advocating for new or expanded arts programs at their local schools and districts. Organized since 2012, GIA’s Arts Education Funders Coalition (AEFC) has worked to address identified needs in comprehensive arts education and to strengthen communication and networking among arts education funders.

The AEFC includes members from Americans for the Arts, Arts Education Partnership, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others. Advised by a committee of Coalition members, GIA engaged the services of Washington, D.C.-based Penn Hill Group, a firm with education policy expertise and experience working with diverse education groups to research, develop, and promote educational policy strategies.

Most recently, GIA worked with Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) on the development of the Arts Education for All Act, the broadest arts education policy bill ever introduced in Congress. In Spring 2021, GIA influenced the U.S. Department of Education to highlight the importance of equitable access to arts and culture when determining how to reopen schools. Additionally, GIA emphasized the need to make explicit how this access was racialized prior to the pandemic. Addressing this inequity was essential to effective reopening and remains essential to the adequate provision of comprehensive, well-rounded education.

In addition to Arts Education focused policy work, GIA advocates and lobbies for lifelong learning. GIA is delighted that, in 2020, Congress passed the Supporting Older Americans Act including our recommendations that the Administration on Aging include the arts in the issues to be identified and addressed and be included among supportive services for older Americans.

Another way we are realizing this vision is through the inaugural 2022 GIA Cultural Policy Learning Series and Action Lab, which focuses on such issues as racial equity & transformational practice in the public sector, translating between sectors and planning toward action.

We continue to advocate and lobby for economic justice for workers, including artists. GIA has successfully lobbied to include arts-related provisions in the Child Care for Working Families Act, which proposes to better help low-income families pay for childcare and expand high-quality state preschool options. GIA advocated for AmeriCorps to make national volunteer service more accessible by offering an increase in living allowances. We have also called for arts grantmakers to advocate for portable benefits for workers.

GIA is eager to continue informing the field’s support for advocacy, to advocate for national policies that enhance lifelong access to the transformative power of arts and culture that create economic justice for artists and other workers.

May 9, 2022 by Jaime Sharp

From JPMorgan Chase: "New JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter brief recommends asset and income restriction reforms."

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May 5, 2022 by Jaime Sharp

“Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the Advancing Equity Through the Arts and Humanities Act to acknowledge the role that arts and humanities play in dismantling systemic racism in the United States."

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April 25, 2022 by Eddie
For more on GIA’s disability justice focused online learning, check out our recent webinar Disability Justice in Arts and Culture Funding and join us at our upcoming webinar Disability Justice for Individual Artists: Cap, SNAP, Solution on May 31 at 11am PDT / 2pm EDT.

GIA is advocating for policies that increase the amount of assets that people with disabilities can hold while remaining eligible for public benefits because disabled artists – indeed, all workers – deserve to get paid for their work and to build savings, even when circumstances – like a disability – prevent them from working a conventional fixed role or schedule. GIA is advocating for disability justice for artists and for all as part of our valuing of intersectionality.

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April 15, 2022 by Jaime Sharp

From National Endowment for the Arts:
"We invite you to join us in sending the below letter to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee in support of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)."

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April 15, 2022 by Jaime Sharp

"Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Arts joined more than 90 federal agencies in releasing its Equity Action Plan to the public, and shared the plan with stakeholders and partners."

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April 6, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

“When we fight pipelines, when we fight oil projects, when we fight all of the extractive development that harms our mother, we don’t do that just for ourselves,” Krystal Two Bulls says, director of the LANDBACK Campaign within the Indigenous advocacy organization NDN Collective in Grist. Elaborating, “We do that so we can all actually have an earth to live on in the future. So that future generations that aren’t even born yet have an earth to come to.”

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March 8, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

A new bipartisan bill in Congress proposes a $300 million federal grants and commissions program for art workers. The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) is "a joint effort between hundreds of cultural organizations to stimulate the creative economy through public art projects across the United States,” pens Billy Anania in Hyperallergic.

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February 23, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

This week’s NEA podcast is featuring NEA Chair Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. Chair Jackson is no stranger to the Arts Endowment having had a great deal of first-hand experience with the agency as she has served on the National Council on the Arts since 2013. She comes to the position of chair with years of experience in comprehensive community building that focuses on the centrality of the arts. Chair Jackson shares her thoughts about the arts, an artful life, and the Arts Endowment at this time of reopening, rethinking, and reimagining the arts landscape.

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February 3, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

"Federal arts funding in the United States is something of a sore subject: in comparison to other places around the world, creatives in this country function in near-perpetual states of uncertainty, striving endlessly to be afforded the security of a grant or gallery representation," writes Helen Holmes in the Observer.

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October 14, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Hyperallergic writes about the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA), a new bipartisan bill in Congress that proposes a $300 million federal grants and commissions program for art workers. "The act is a joint effort between hundreds of cultural organizations to stimulate the creative economy through public art projects across the United States," states the article.

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